Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, June 16, 2014

Jim Bunning: Cubs’ sale at odds with MLB antitrust exemption

Jim Bunning: “You can’t fool the people that long.” Sweet fuctwa! Bunning’s been winning elections since 1977!

If anyone in the U.S. House or Senate decides to bring another challenge to Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption, the Cubs’ sale to the Ricketts family could become part of the case, former lawmaker Jim Bunning said.

Bunning, the baseball Hall of Famer who later led multiple threats and challenges to MLB’s exemption as a seven-term congressman and two-term senator, isn’t convinced there’s anyone left in Washington willing to take up that issue.

...“That’s where you could get something,” Bunning, who was in Philadelphia for a throwback weekend, said of a challenge to the exemption. “If somebody like Mark Cuban wants to buy a team and offers something like $2 billion, and they tell him he can’t. If they made an exception for a specific sale, it would be against the antitrust laws [and spirit of the exemption].”

Multiple sources confirm the open secret when it comes to Cuban and baseball: MLB wants no part of an outspoken, deep-pockets owner who might drive up player salaries and challenge the establishment.

The impact on the Cubs was a highly leveraged partnership purchase by a secondary bidder that has crippled the team’s short-term spending ability because of the biggest debt burden in the game, along with spending restrictions through related bank covenants.

...However, the actual business practices of the team — which include sacrificing seasons to stock the farm system while charging the third-highest ticket prices in the game — don’t rise to actionable levels, Bunning said.

“If you want to buy tickets to a baseball game and go to Wrigley Field and see a Double-A or Triple-A team, that’s your choice,” he said.

But the fact that skyrocketing media-rights deals allow some teams to ignore fans and make winning a secondary concern — because attendance is no longer the top-line revenue source — has the potential to stir outrage if it becomes a trend, Bunning suggested. Especially for an industry that expects to cross the $9 billion mark in revenues this year.

“That’s bad for the Cubs, it’s bad for baseball, it’s bad for the league as a whole,” Bunning said.

Outrage often has been the catalyst for lawmakers to examine ways to threaten a 92-year-old exemption that was the dubious result of a lawsuit by the defunct Federal League and has survived only through MLB’s acquiescence when challenged by the likes of Bunning.

It was the hammer lawmakers used to push for steroid-testing reform in baseball a decade ago.

“I’m not sure there’s anyone in the Senate or Congress left who knows baseball has an exemption,” Bunning cracked.

Much less outrage over what’s going on in places such as Chicago.

“You can’t fool the people that long,” he said. “If the Cubs don’t become competitive, they might as well close the doors.”

Repoz Posted: June 16, 2014 at 09:06 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, cubs

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4727233)
My recollection is that Cuban's own admission was that his bid involved some creative financing and it now seems clear that TribCorp had a very specific requirement with how the sale had to be structured.

MLB may indeed be keeping Cuban away from owning a team but the sale of the Cubs is a poor example.
   2. bobm Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4727365)
50th anniversary of Bunning's perfect game commemorated

FIFTY FATHER'S Days since the best one a pitcher could ever envision, Jim Bunning took the mound at Citizens Bank Park.

Yesterday afternoon, before Philadelphia capped its six-game homestand, the Phillies commemorated Bunning's perfect game on Father's Day of 1964. Sporting a throwback No. 14 jersey, Bunning was joined on the field by former teammates Dick Allen and Cookie Rojas, both of whom were in the lineup that June 21 day at Shea Stadium. [...]

Bunning, a father of nine, afterward joked about his ceremonial first pitch, which he tossed well wide of a crouching Larry Bowa.

"Obviously, from the pitch that I threw, you can tell I haven't touched a ball in 6 years," he said with a laugh.
   3. JRVJ Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4727521)
Wasn't Bunning a little funny in the cabezo?
   4. boteman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4727616)
I don't remember him in a gazebo.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Martin Hemner
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(3212 - 7:34am, Oct 23)
Last: Misirlou's been working for the drug squad

NewsblogHow Wall Street Strangled the Life out of Sabermetrics | VICE Sports
(16 - 7:16am, Oct 23)
Last: Arbitol Dijaler

NewsblogCardinals proud of fourth straight NLCS appearance | cardinals.com
(66 - 7:12am, Oct 23)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogMcSweeneys: NEW BASEBALL STATISTICS.
(16 - 7:09am, Oct 23)
Last: Arbitol Dijaler

NewsblogJay set for surgery — and for CF in 2015 : Sports
(6 - 6:54am, Oct 23)
Last: cv2002

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(353 - 6:27am, Oct 23)
Last: steagles

NewsblogAd Week: What Is Madeleine Albright Doing on the Wheaties Box?
(10 - 5:56am, Oct 23)
Last: CraigK

NewsblogHunter Pence responds to Royals fan signs with monster Game 1 | MLB.com
(55 - 3:53am, Oct 23)
Last: Shibal

NewsblogJerome Williams re-signs with Phils
(10 - 2:11am, Oct 23)
Last: boteman

NewsblogSielski: A friend fights for ex-Phillie Dick Allen's Hall of Fame induction
(182 - 12:31am, Oct 23)
Last: Sunday silence

Newsblog2014 WORLD SERIES GAME 2 OMNICHATTER
(534 - 12:25am, Oct 23)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(854 - 12:25am, Oct 23)
Last: DJS and the Infinite Sadness

NewsblogRoyals are not the future of baseball | FOX Sports
(30 - 12:08am, Oct 23)
Last: rlc

NewsblogStatcast: Posey out at the plate
(14 - 11:25pm, Oct 22)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogMike Scioscia, Matt Williams voted top managers
(43 - 7:45pm, Oct 22)
Last: catomi01

Page rendered in 0.2123 seconds
52 querie(s) executed